Sunday, April 27, 2008

the main reason I brought ld to NYC

This picture says it all. I have absolutely no navigational skills. Fortunately, ld does and because of his great talent for making sense of lines and dots on a map we have been able to hop on and off subways and buses with ease. Napoleon was sooo right. Chicks love guys with skills.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hang Tough, Hang In and Hang On

Everyone I know in my little fam, myself included, is a little tired and burned out. It is, after all, Spring and that is the beginning of long work days for ld. He is busy, busy and more than a little crotchety as a result. Finals keep Kenz and Megs and their hubbys up late writing papers and studying. When you throw in our new Cate in the mix, you can see not much sleep is happening. I shouldn’t be pooped, have no reason really, but I am. Seems like it’s enough just watching those I love being pushed and pulled in every direction. It drives me to the couch in weariness.

But it will all be over soon. Finals will come and go, ld will adjust to his workload, Cate will start sleeping through the night soon. Well, okay I lied about that part. Rather, Kenz will learn to nap when baby does.

So in honor of all my dear fam, those who are messed up, depressed, discouraged, stressed out, burned out, mentally strained, physically drained, and spiritually out of sorts (in other words those exactly like me) here is something to encourage and lift you.

Elder Holland gave this talk years ago at a BYU devotional. It’s especially applicable today as it speaks to our current brain strain and heart pain.

We speak about excellence a great deal at BYU these days, and, by definition, excellence does not come easily or quickly—an excellent education does not, a successful mission does not, a strong, loving marriage does not, rewarding personal relationships do not. It is simply a truism that nothing very valuable can come without significant sacrifice and effort and patience on our part. Perhaps you discovered that when you got your grades last month. Maybe in other ways you are finding that many of the most hoped-for rewards in life can seem an awfully long time coming.

My concern this morning is that you will face some delays and disappointments at this formative time in your life and feel that no one else in the history of mankind has ever had your problems or faced those difficulties. And when some of those challenges come, you will have the temptation common to us all to say, "This task is too hard. The burden is too heavy. The path is too long." And so you decide to quit, simply to give up. Now to terminate certain kinds of tasks is not only acceptable but often very wise. If you are, for example, a flagpole sitter then I say, "Come on down." But in life's most crucial and telling tasks, my plea is to stick with it, to persevere, to hang in and hang on, and to reap your reward. Or to be slightly more scriptural:

Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days. [D&C 64:33­34]

I am asking you this morning not to give up "for ye are laying the foundation of a great work." That "great work" is you—your life, your future, the very fulfillment of your dreams. That "great work" is what, with effort and patience and God's help, you can become. When days are difficult or problems seem unending, I plead with you to stay in the harness and keep pulling. You are entitled to "eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days," but it will require your heart and a willing mind. It will require that you stay at your post and keep trying.

(To view the rest of his excellent speech go to:

He essentially is saying to Hang in and Hang on. Gotta love that. Laminate that to your foreheads or staple it to your heart and remember your ‘lil mommy’s mantra lo these many years: Nothing is long that has an end. : )

Saturday, April 12, 2008

piano ha ha's

Most weekday afternoons I feel like I am living in a tv sitcom (only a good one). Teaching piano is just that funny. As Kenz frequently remarks, You have the most interesting piano students meaning they are hilarious and random. I suppose she’s right. I have filled a lot of journal entries with the wonderfully entertaining and wacky things they have said or done. The teenagers are amusing in their own right (that’s a whole ‘nother post), but it is the younger ones (like those under say 10) that are particularly crazy and endearing. I tee hee nearly every week.

You gotta love the little 7 yr old who shows up to her lesson with her recently purchased swimming cap in her bag. To her it made perfect sense to suddenly try it on in the middle of her finger patterns. C-D-E-F-G, apparently, just got too boring. I appreciated her attempt to liven things up a bit. I really did. Finger Patterns, after all, sound so much better when played with a swim cap on. A yellow one, no less. Yup.

This would be the same little adorable girl who, at a previous lesson, pulled out a dime from her tiny coin purse and insisted I take it.

Me: Why are you giving me a dime?

She: Because you need it.

Me: Nope, I don’t. You keep it and save it. Buy yourself something with it.

She: (Getting frustrated) No! You don’t get any money and someone should pay you.

I had a hard time making her understand that the envelope she brought every month, the one marked with my name on it, well, that contained her Mother’s check to me and I did in fact get paid by her Mother.

She could not wrap her little mind around this fact and insisted I take her dime. Which I did.

You gotta also love little Daxton, with his baseball cap and toothless grin. He came bounding up my stairs one day last spring, so excited he could barely contain himself. He proudly announced he had just won a slot in the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival competition at school and would be performing later in the summer.

I couldn’t resist.

Me: Well, let’s hear it then. Go ahead. Tell me your winning story.

So he regaled me with his rendition of The Big Mouth Frog, complete with actions and animated voice and exaggerated frog like mouth.

Highly entertaining. No wonder he won. After hearing it 3 times during his lesson I was convinced of his theatrical talent. As he left, he asked if I wanted to hear him do it again, you know because apparently I might not have caught all the nuances of his performance. Of course, I would love to hear it again. Oh. My.

I’ve learned a lot teaching piano, too. I’m thinking of the little girl who retrieved from her music bag a culinary concoction consisting of saltine crackers, butter and cheese with a big sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

She explained between bites.

Alyssa: I made myself a little snack.

Me: So I see. Well, well.

Before I could instruct her that snacks are best eaten away from the piano, (especially away from my piano) she gave me the recipe for her tasty snack. You know, in case I ever wanted to go whip myself up one.

Alyssa: But remember, (she cautioned! Spewing crackers through her lips) you have to use Cimma Mum.

Me: Gotcha

Through the years I have enjoyed/endured such delightful randomness and kookiness. It’s hard, really hard, not to smile or even laugh out loud at the student who thinks they can play piano with their winter gloves on (and we all know who that would be, eh Lacy? ☺ or who decides to lie down on the bench and stretch out as playing that piece one more time is so exhausting. I’ll just take a nap right now, if you don’t mind. During my lesson.

Oh, and I’ll never forget the time Jesse Boone came wearing his sister's contact lens. I couldn’t figure out why all the tears and excessive blinking. Was he sad, did I do something? No, no. He just wanted to try out his sisters contacts, because you know, that might be fun. Never mind that he couldn’t see with them, and his eyes kept crossing. But then again, nothing J.B. did was surprising. Half the time he showed up without his books because ‘they were nowhere to be found’, his mom must have ‘thrown them away’. And when I asked him what we should do for his lesson then, he always cheerfully suggested, We could just talk about music and stuff. Uh huh.

Here’s another. Gotta love this one. It’s Christmas time, and Jessica, (was then 7), is fascinated by my Nativity scene. She gently fingers the Wisemen and her hand stops on one in particular, the black Wiseman. Her brow furrows.

She blurts out:

Jessica: Where did you get this nativity scene?

Me: Uh… I got it at Costco.

Jessica: No. I mean what State did you buy this Nativity scene from?

Me: (Blank stare)

Jessica: You didn’t buy it in our State did you?

Me: (Still confused)

She continues, matter of factly.

Jessica: Because in our state the Wisemen are white and not black.

Oh. Of course, dontcha know?

I’ll end with Hadley. Just this Thursday. She’s zipping through her piece when she blurts out in the middle:

Hadley: Do you have something for me for my birthday?

Me: What? (I’m caught off guard, she succeeds in distracting me) Umm, when was your birthday?

Hadley: In the past.

Me: Oh. Well. Hmm. Good to know. Er. Continue.

Hadley: (Heavy Sigh, she reluctantly resumes her playing)

I give her an Otter pop as she leaves. For her birthday. The one that has passed.

My students, they never disappoint. I can depend on them to enlighten and entertain and as this weeks encounter proves, to even guilt me in an amusing way. And while I know for a fact that their Mothers would be horrified at what they sometimes blurt out or do, there is something so refreshingly honest and authentic in them. I envy their ability to say what they really feel and find myself wishing I could live with more childlike genuineness.

Who wouldn’t love to just lie down during church, right there on the bench, when the speaker drones on. And what I wouldn’t give to be able to don a yellow swimsuit cap the next time I’m up at the organ playing prelude.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Meghan Explains Martha

From the text messages, phone call and reports from Kody it sounds like Megs is having a good time in Maryland. You can view a synopsis of her research topic here:

She presents tomorrow. G’luck to ye, Megs.

Friday, April 4, 2008

code #231

Yesterday, on the drive down, I came upon a ponderable. No, it wasn’t the book I was reading (by Anne Lamott, btw) or the thought provoking scenery. No, this ponderable came as a result of an event. ld, for at least 45 minutes, kept trying to attach with his spit (that would be his unsanitary saliva, people!) this Global Positioning device thingy to the front windshield. And the dang thing kept falling. Down onto the dashboard. It would stick for a while and then kerplunk.

Now here’s the thing, the ponderable. We all know ld to be, umm, how shall I put it, a little less endowed with calm patience. Perseverant, yes. Very. But always patient, calm and soft spoken, umm, no. And yet there he was, serenely reapplying spit and patiently attempting to reattach the thing every time it fell. And nothing. No explosions or fits. Just, attach. Watch it fall. Reapply spit. Reattach. Watch it fall.

This to me was and is fascinating. What gives? Why in this instance the serene stick-to-it-ness? And I ask this, ld, because watching you do the same thing over and over and over again made me crazy. I wanted to take that little device and throw it out the window, such was my frustration er, annoyance. (This is why I gave you a lecture about falling into the same hole, remember?)

But you ld, you great fixer of all things and luv of my life, you kept on at it, until finally, (did I mention FINALLY!) you got it to stick. And we traveled on happily ever after.

So. After all this pondering and contemplation I can safely conclude (as I now have living proof ld) that you can change a lightbulb or fix the garbage disposal without any tantrums at all. Who knew? But now that I know, I’ll be holding you to a higher standard. From now on, say, when the front door won’t work (again!) or the windshield wipers on the car are kaput, or the oven won’t heat up, we can use a new code. (Heaven knows our relationship is all about codes.) I am excited about this code because it could really work for me in the future, ahem, not that I’m trying to rein you in, of course☺. Nothing like that. When something requires any kind of patience or doesn’t work or breaks I’m gonna simply and sweetly whisper, Spit on the GPS, dear and you’ll know what I mean.

Btw, could you fix the ring on my phone?